What is a customer pain point?

Customer pain points are the common challenges or problems customers face within a brand’s industry or market.

This could include issues that impact productivity, such as clunky work processes, inefficiencies posed by legacy technologies, and problems gathering customer feedback.

Addressing these customer pain points in a cost-friendly, effective, and efficient way is often how brands stand out against their competitors. When it comes to the sales conversation, successful brands are adept at connecting the dots between the customer pain point and their offering. Brands that can show that they have a clear understanding of a customer pain point are much more likely to have a fruitful engagement with a prospect.

What types of customer pain points are there?

Depending on the product or service a brand offers, there can be any number of customer pain points that they may be trying to solve. In most cases, particularly in the B2B space, customer pain points can be grouped into the following four categories.

  • Productivity. Productivity pain points are the issues that teams face when trying to do their work. These pain points are particularly salient for teams that have performance metrics tied to work outputs or revenue targets. In most cases, customers experiencing these pain points will search for tools or consultants that can help them reduce inefficiencies.
  • Support or experience. Support pain points happen when a customer is dissatisfied with the experience they have interacting with an existing vendor. These are the types of pain points that brands can leverage when they are trying to replace a competitor. As such, it’s important for sales reps and account managers to ask prospects how a current vendor is performing — and showcase how their offering might be better.
  • Financial. Financial pain points are often tied to budgetary constraints. For example, a prospect might be spending more money than they can afford on another vendor or tool, and thus could be in the market for a more affordable option. Financial pain points can look like expensive license fees, lack of transparency around final costs, or surprise price hikes after a certain period of time.
  • Process. Procedural pain points can occur in a number of places. For example, a prospect might be having trouble with their process for onboarding and offboarding third-party contractors. There also could be process challenges with getting all employees paid at the right time. When customers face process pain points, they’re typically looking for solutions that can remove obstacles and seamlessly facilitate the work.

What is the best way to identify customer pain points?

As mentioned, it’s a good practice for brands to be aware of the specific customer pain points they’re able to solve with their product. But how does a brand go about identifying them? Here are three methods that can help.

  • Qualitative customer research in the form of surveys and focus groups is a great way to get down to the granular aspects of customer pain points.
  • Social listening or tracking what customers say about the brand’s market and competitors is a great way to understand what might be going on beneath the surface.
  • Getting input from sales and customer support. These are the two teams that have the most interactions with customers and prospects, so they’ll have useful perspectives on what the most common customer pain points are.

Understanding relevant customer pain points should be a strategic initiative for any brand. As the product or service the brand is selling exists to solve issues for customers, a thorough comprehension of what might be causing friction is table stakes.